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Greece Turns To Coal, Calls Renewable Energy A Threat To National Security

Ilias Tsagas, PV Magazine

Greek energy minister warns that renewable energy is a threat to national security.

[…] The new government’s policy shift away from renewable energies “is very clear” said Psomas. “All [the new government] is concerned with is how to promote power generation from fossil fuels e.g. new lignite power stations, new gas pipes and explanatory drilling for oil. So far, it has shown no interest at all for renewables energy” Psomas added.

Since the end of January, when a new coalition government between a far left party and a populist right party came to power, the new government is at war with many of  Greece’s environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The subject of the stormy relationship is the Greek government’s decision to give the final go ahead at Ptolemaida V, a 660 MW new power plant that burns lignite.

WWF Greece, the Greek arm of the international organisation WWF, has gathered 48000 signatures from citizens who ask Greece’s energy minister to stop the approval of new lignite power plant. Greece’s energy minister Panayotis Lafazanis has refused to meet with WWF Greece to collect the signatures.

Both WWF Greece and Greenpeace Greece have accused the new government that it falls prey to the lignite lobby, not prioritising Greece’s benefits and have published studies proving the hazardous character of the new lignite plant for Greece’s economy, environment and public health.

Energy minister Lafazanis answers that Ptolemaida V [is] required since renewable power plants are intermittent and endanger the country’s energy security. […]

In May, Lafazanis sent a letter to the European Commission asking permission to operate the Ptolemaida III, a separate coal plant that is shut down due to its very old technology that pollutes the environments enormously. One of Lafazanis arguments was “the economic crisis in Greece, which makes the need for keeping the cost of energy for households’ heating as low as possible.”

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